Budget Transparency

Transparency, and the accountability that follows, is necessary for state's to fix their fiscal problems.  Citizens should now demand ready access to state and local government budgets, regulations, contracts, and contacts.  Absent transparency, there is far greater risk of continued failure, corruption, fraud, waste and regulatory abuse.

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      How States Underfund Public Pensions

      by Cory Eucalitto | November 2, 2012

      Politicians evade balanced budget requirements and debt limits by underfunding public pensions, covertly passing the financial burden onto future taxpayers. Get the details here.

    • HEADLINES: Michigan

      Proposal 5: Supermajority Tax Support Mixed

      The Detroit News | by Chad Livengood | October 5, 2012

      Proposal 5, to be decided Nov. 6, would require a two-thirds vote of both houses of the Legislature to raise taxes or expand the tax base by ending loopholes.

    • HEADLINES: Minnesota

      State Will Pay $2M in Overtime to Finish Hastings Bridge

      Star Tribune | by Jim Adams | October 5, 2012

      State transportation officials will pay nearly $2.1 million to the contractor of the new Hastings bridge for overtime and other expenses necessary to get the bridge open by December 2013 after flooding and the state government shutdown caused delays last year.

    • HEADLINES: Colorado

      Colorado State board endorses stadium, chief repeats no-taxes pledge

      The Denver Post | by Anthony Cotton | October 5, 2012

      The Colorado State University Board of Governors voted unanimously Thursday to support president Tony Frank's plan to build a $250 million on-campus football stadium.

    • HEADLINES: California

      Impact of Brown's tax initiative debated in San Diego

      U-T San Diego | by Christopher Cadelago | October 5, 2012

      The measure on the Nov. 6 ballot would increase the sales tax a quarter-cent on the dollar for four years and hike income taxes on a sliding scale for seven years on those making more than $250,000 annually. It would raise billions of dollars a year for state programs including education and public safety and thwart nearly $6 billion in cuts to public schools and colleges in the current budget year.

    • HEADLINES: Indiana

      Daniels transfers $360 million of Indiana surplus into pension funds

      Evansville Courier & Press | by Eric Bradner | October 5, 2012

      Gov. Mitch Daniels' administration transferred $360 million to five pension programs Thursday under a plan meant to divvy up much of state government's surplus.

    • HEADLINES: Louisiana

      Analysis: Lawmakers shut out of Jindal budget cuts

      The Alexandria Town Talk | by Melinda DeSlatte | September 24, 2012

      Irritation over the Jindal administration's shut-out of legislators is festering and has prompted a handful of lawmakers to call for a special legislative session to revisit the governor's budget decisions.

    • HEADLINES: Ohio

      OSU president expenses in the millions

      The Dayton Daily News | by Laura A. Bischoff | September 24, 2012

      Since returning to Columbus as the university's president in October 2007, the 68-year-old Gee has pulled in $8.6 million in salary and compensation, making him the highest paid CEO of a public university in the country.

    • HEADLINES: New Jersey

      Gov conditionally nixes faster budget reporting

      The Sacramento Bee | September 22, 2012

      Gov. Chris Christie has conditionally vetoed a bill that would have required more prompt reporting each month of state finances and expanded the areas covered by the law.

    • HEADLINES: Illinois

      Why Illinois' budget is as clear as mud

      The Chicago Sun-Times | by Richard Dye | September 22, 2012

      Lack of transparency matters because, in addition to contributing to the budget crisis, incomplete information makes solutions harder to find.

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      Federal Aid to the States 2008-2011

      by Kristen De Pena | February 21, 2013

      It is well understood that the federal government must make spending cuts-these cuts will most likely drastically change the amount of federal dollars that are allocated to the states. Unfortunately for most states, dependence on federal funding has continually risen since 2008.


      Forecasting the Recovery from the Great Recession: Is This Time Different?

      The National Bureau of Economic Research | by Kathryn Dominguez & Matthew Shapiro | February 4, 2013

      Was the slow recovery of the U.S. economy from the trough of the Great Recession anticipated? 


      State Budget Crisis Task Force Report

      State Budget Crisis Task Force | by Richard Ravitch and Paul Volcker | July 17, 2012

      State finances are not transparent and often include hidden liabilities as well as rapidly growing responsibilities which are difficult to control.  While state revenues are gradually recovering from the drastic decline of the Great Recession, they are not growing sufficiently to keep pace with the spending required by Medicaid costs, pensions, and other responsibilities and obligations.  This has resulted in persistent and growing structural deficits in many states which threaten their fiscal sustainability.

    • RESOURCES: Connecticut

      $100k Pension Club Includes 299 State Retirees

      In 2008, 175 former Connecticut state employees received pensions worth at least $100,000. That number rose to 299 people in 2009 and is expected to continue rising.

    • RESEARCH: Minnesota

      At a Crossroads

      Are students learning the things they need to know? Is there a healthy exchange of ideas? Are trustees upholding the public trust? Are taxpayers getting a good value for their money? These are the kinds of questions to which the people of Minnesota deserve answers. It is the goal of this report card to provide answers and to help Minnesota—a state rightly known for its passion for education—be a national standard bearer for excellence, accountability, and efficiency in higher education.


      How Reality-Based Budgeting Can Permanently Resolve State Budget Gaps

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | November 7, 2012

      State Budget Solutions recommends that state legislators take action in 2013 to resolve the serious state financial crises by changing their focus from inputs to outcomes by redesigning budgets from the ground up based on priorities and performance.

    • SOLUTIONS: North Carolina

      A Blueprint for Budget Reform

      Civitas Institute | by Brian Balfour | September 12, 2012

      The ongoing state budget "crisis" strongly underscores the urgent need for North Carolina to adapt significant state budget reforms, including putting North Carolina taxpayers back in charge of approving new debt, and forcing legislators and state agencies at reasonable intervals to justify all spending, not just spending increases.


      Transparency Key to Fixing State Budget Crises

      by Mike Barnhart | March 12, 2012

      Transparency, and the accountability that follows, is necessary for state's to fix their fiscal problems.  Citizens should now demand ready access to state and local government budgets, regulations, contracts, and contacts.  Absent transparency, there is far greater risk of continued failure, corruption, fraud, waste and regulatory abuse.


      Creating a New Public Pension System

      The Laura and John Arnold Foundation | by Josh B. McGee, Ph.D. | December 5, 2011

      Sound pension reform meets four general criteria: (1) establish transparency with respect to the true cost of the benefits promised to public employees; (2) mandate that the pension plan sponsor pay the full cost of accrued benefits each year; (3) mandate that the pension plan sponsor pay down the unfunded accrued liability over a reasonable time horizon and (4) improve the generational equity, portability and security of benefits for public employees.

    • SOLUTIONS: South Carolina

      The South Carolina state budget is a mystery. What can be done about it?

      The South Carolina Policy Council | December 2, 2011

      The South Carolina state budget should be more transparent. There should be one document showing the exact amount lawmakers appropriated in a given year and the budget should reveal where all money is coming from.  The budget should list every program each agency is running, how much that program is receiving, and a description of the program.


      Statewide Transparency/Spending Web Sites and Legislation

      National Conference of State Legislatures | July 20, 2011

      At least 34 states have passed legislation--often called Taxpayer Transparency Acts--requiring a centralized, searchable website that provides information to the public about state expenditures or state contracts.  They can all be found here.

    • SOLUTIONS: Texas

      2011 Texas Budget Solutions

      The Texas Public Policy Foundation provides a host of potential budget solutions for the 2011 Texas state budget. Their solutions cover a broad range of categories from education to tax policy. Take a look!

    • SOLUTIONS: Texas

      Make the Budget Process More Transparent: HB 2804 and SB 1653

      The Texas Public Policy Foundation | April 1, 2011

      Over the long term, one of the most important reforms the Legislature can enact to promote fiscal responsibility is to make the appropriations process more transparent.

    • SOLUTIONS: New Jersey

      The Crisis in Public Sector Pension Plans

      Mercatus Center | by Eileen Norcross, Andrew Biggs | February 11, 2011

      Case study of New Jersey's five public pension plans and exploration of possible solutions, including shifting all newly hired employees to a defined contribution pension model based upon the plan already offered to New Jersey's university employees and continuing current reforms lowering pension replacement rates and, if possible, extended to current employees.


      Performance Audit Tools for Higher Education

      by Harry Stille | January 28, 2011

      The time has come for openness and accountability in post-secondary education. The best way to achieve this is through performance audits, which look at all facets of an institution-from student input/outcome data to faculty process data to all aspects of financial data. This project is to develop areas of process for a Performance Audit Guide used to evaluate how public (and/or private) institutions use student, public, and donor funds to meet the institutions' primary missions.

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